Connect with us


Wisconsin Football: Players With Rising Stock in Spring Practice



Wisconsin Badgers football head coach Luke Fickell

Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin football program is off and running with its spring practices. There have been plenty of takeaways in just a few practice sessions, and there is far more to come as we draw closer to the 2023 season.

Early returns have shown plenty of transfers and young players who have made strong impressions. If the early spring performances are any indicator, UW could be a dangerous team. 

Here’s a look at the players who have impressed and raised their stock early in spring ball.

Wisconsin football players who have raised their stock in spring practice

Braedyn Locke

Mississippi State transfer Braedyn Locke has shown some real flashes of his potential early in spring. 

The QB2 position battle was one of the biggest battles heading into spring. Through the first few weeks, Locke spent most of his time running with UW’s second unit, and he’s turned heads with his arm ability and decision-making early. If Locke secures the QB2 spot, he’ll be in a prime spot to take over as the starter after Tanner Mordecai’s exit following this year.

Will Pauling

Pauling, a Cincinnati transfer, has made one of the most significant impacts in UW’s receiver corps in spring ball.

UW reporters have noted the 5-foot-10, 186-pound receiver’s quick burst off the line and excellent hands. During the last spring practice on April 4th, Pauling earned some reps with the first-team offense in the slot, bumping Skyler Bell to the second unit. Pauling’s performance has turned heads early, and if he keeps it up, there’s a real possibility he’ll be among UW’s top receiving options. 

Cade Yacamelli

As we drew closer to spring practice, the RB3 position battle was one to watch. Unfortunately, Jackson Acker and Julius Davis have been battling injuries. However, redshirt freshman Cade Yacamelli has burst into the scene with impressive play. 

Yacamelli, who was listed as a safety last season, has shown flashes of his versatility early on. The 6-foot, 207-pound running back has turned heads with his play on the ground and as a pass catcher. With his versatility, he could be the Badgers’ RB3 even after the other options return from injury. 

Ricardo Hallman

The Badgers have received some quality reps from their starting corners, Alexander Smith, Ricardo Hallman, and Jason Maitre, but Hallman has been a standout early on.

The redshirt sophomore started in eight games last season and posted nine tackles, four passes defended, and one interception. Hallman has only improved, as he has solidified himself as the No. 2 cornerback early on. The cornerback position will continue to be a group to watch as Wisconsin looks to bolster the depth, but Hallman is one of the early risers in the secondary. 

Jack Pugh

The tight end room is one of the shakiest groups for the Wisconsin football program. UW will have Clay Cundiff and Jake Eschenbach returning, but Cundiff is still rehabbing from a leg injury he suffered last season. With Wisconsin’s TE1 out, redshirt sophomore Jack Pugh has taken a giant leap forward.

Pugh has appeared in just one game for the Badgers, but he’s earned first-team reps in spring practice. His versatility makes him stand out, as he has lined up in the backfield, out wide, and in the slot. Early returns on Pugh show that he could fit in nicely as a TE2, and under Phil Longo’s reimagined offense, he could be heavily involved if he keeps it up.

So many other players have made good impressions early, but some stood out above the rest. Keep in mind it is very early, and plenty can change as we approach 2023, but the early returns have certainly been promising. 

We are just five months away from Wisconsin football, and it can’t come soon enough.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jake Maier on Twitter. @JakeJMaier.

Jake Maier is the managing editor and publisher at He has provided coaching and editorial support to numerous writers in his role, contributing significantly to the platform's growth. His expertise extends to Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball, and recruiting coverage. Jake's previous bylines can be found at Fansided and Wisconsin Sports Heroics.